Friday, January 9, 2015

He has this

The past week and a half has been long, hard, emotionally draining, full of memories, full of people, full of sorrow, full of hope, full of joy and laughter. The past week has been shocking and amazing and overwhelmingly covered in the peace and sovereignty of God.
Last Friday (Jan 2nd) was the Captain's visitation. It was scheduled from 4-8. I wore heels. After 3 hours standing in the aforementioned heels, I kicked them off and stood in my tights, standing on tippy toes (I'm not what one would call 'tall') to hug another 3 hours worth of people who came to pay their respects to my husband. 
I was standing and hugging people for over six straight hours... no break, no lull... just 6 hours of amazing God given love and encouragement. Some of those people waited over 3 hours in a line that was so long it wrapped and weaved through the sanctuary and out the doors. Over 1000 people showed up, waited in line and blew me away with how much they love my family... and my amazing husband. It was one of those sweet, amazing gifts God gives in the middle of a very hard thing... a gift He gives to remind you He loves you and He has this.

He has this.
The next day we buried the Captain.
His funeral was exquisite. Four men spoke. All four knew Andy from childhood... three were some of his best friends, one a mentor whom he loved like a second father. Each man spoke with love and conviction, telling of who Andy was, how he loved Christ... and his family. Each man told those seated how Andy wanted each person to hear the gospel and come to know Jesus.
At the end, a dear friend read something written by Andy's own hand... specifically written to be read at his funeral.
The Captain told us not to be sad for him... he was in Heaven, he was with Christ!
Andy's service was one of those moments that is emblazoned in my mind and I remember it with a swelling heart and a joy that can only come from God.

He has this.
It was cold and wet at the cemetery. Mud everywhere; umbrellas trying to stave off the rain. It was surreal and a sight I wasn't really prepared for... to see my husband's coffin next to my daughters headstone. At Caden's funeral, after the graveside service was over, Andy grabbed my hand and said "Let's get outta here." Saturday, although I was surrounded by everyone I love, I felt very alone.
But as my dad walked back and hugged me and walked me to my car... I looked down the line of cars that went on for what seemed like forever; winding down the path and out of the cemetery onto the main street...and I knew...I KNEW that God was here, I was not alone, and even though this time looked different He was going to get me through this too.

"To stand in the presence of the Lord when you'd rather go to bed and never get up, and to praise Him in the night when taunting voices tell you to curse Him - these things are nothing less than a battle cry of victory." ~ Beth Moore


(From my Instagram post on the day of the funeral:  Today was flawless. The service was given by 4 men who knew the Captain since birth/childhood. It was deeply personal. It was honoring to Andy, glorifying to God and every inch was smothered in the gospel of Christ. It was rainy and muddy at the cemetery. It was surreal to see my husbands coffin next to my daughters headstone. It was overwhelming to be loved on and prayed over to the point of joy. God smiled upon today. Andy finished well and we celebrated his victory. I'm broken hearted and already feel a hole in my life, but I know God will be infinitesimally faithful to care and guide me. Today was flawless. And I am grateful.)

He has this.

Since he's been gone, my brain can't seem to catch up. I was sitting at a stop light the other day and I thought to myself, "It just doesn't make sense that he's not somewhere here... he can't really be gone." it is in the very definition of the me, unbelievable. I cannot make sense of it. It doesn't feel real...
Three days after I buried my husband I turned 33. It was incredibly weird to have a mailbox full of both Happy Birthday cards and Sympathy for Losing your Husband cards. I might have giggled at the sight... stress and grief make you do weird things. I, personally, make sarcastic and inappropriate jokes and splurge-shop. Those closest to me know this and go with it.
Tuesday night, over 40 of "my people" came out to celebrate my birthday and celebrate the Captain's Heaven Day. Each year we celebrate Caden's Heaven Day. So It was very important to Rigg that we also celebrate Daddy's Heaven Day. So in 12 degree weather...we set off floating lanterns. It was windy and freezing and slightly ridiculous... and Andy would have been laughing at our efforts... it was perfect in it's flaws and chaotic-ness.

(From my Instagram post on January 6th: Each September, on the anniversary of Caden's death, my family gathers and has a "Heaven Day" celebration. We celebrate that Caden is living in Heaven with Christ, and because of Christ's work on the cross we can have the promise of Heaven ourselves. Each year I preach this truth to my boys. Each year they understand more and look forward to Heaven Day. It was very important to Rigg that we celebrate Daddy's heaven day. So tonight, about 40 of my friends and family stood out in the 12 degree weather and sent up lanterns. As Rigg watched his take off I heard him say "Happy Heaven Day Daddy."  God is working in my boy's hearts. He is growing them and teaching them and they are becoming strong and brave. The Captain would be proud.)

He has this.
Many people have asked how my sweet boys are doing. They are just fine. They are happy daddy is out of his stupid bed... that he can run and talk! They are processing this in the only way their 3 and 5 year old brains know how... a little bit at a time.  They ask questions... which I answer and then they go on their merry way playing and wrestling and giggling.
Again, I am reminded of God's sovereignty. I believe God is sovereign in all things. And if I believe that... then I believe that when He was creating and forming my sweet boys, He made them in such a way that they not only can "handle" this... but that they were specifically built for this. God created my sons to live in a world without their daddy... He made them so they can grow and live well under circumstances we see as a hindrance. It is my job as their mom, to teach them and build into them this understanding and grow them up in the Grace and Knowledge of Christ. And, furthermore, if I believe that God is sovereign to create my boys for this... I believe He was sovereign to create me for this.

(From my Instagram post on Jan 2nd: If you are wondering how the boys are... They are doing well. The true weight of death does not apply to preschoolers. They do not truly grasp what it all means. But we talked a couple times yesterday about daddy living in Heaven. They were happy that he is with Jesus and Caden. Rigg asked if he was walking and talking... I said yes... he jumped up and down yelling "Yay!"  It made me smile. They will deal with the death of their father their whole lives...but for now we will take it a step at a time and rejoice together...maybe one day we will cry together... but for now wrestling and being 3 and 5 will have to do.)

He Has This.

I've done way more laughing than crying over the past week. I can't decide why that is... this grief looks so different than my grief after Caden's death. Maybe it is because Andy lived at his parents home the past 6 months... and I had a small separation anyway...maybe it's because I have been grieving the loss of my husband in small pieces for over a year... maybe its all the love, support and prayer that have surrounded me over the past couple of weeks... maybe it's because God has built a faith and hope in me that wasn't this big 5 years ago.
Maybe it's all of the above.
Don't get me wrong... I've cried. I miss him.
I miss him.
I don't know what my life looks like without Andy. I'm not sure I can be, or will be the same person now that he's gone. And I'm not sure how I feel about that.
I don't do well with change. It takes me awhile to process and catch up. And when there is no script... no lines to memorize.. it's all ad lib, well, then, it takes a lot of leaning into God and finding your way in Him.
As each day dawns and all my responsibilities cry to be taken care of... as life continues without pause or lag... I am constantly encouraged by and reminded of Gods unwavering faithfulness. The lady at Banana Republic who helped me shop for my "widow dress" cried with me in the dressing room when she learned that the funeral I was shopping for was my husband's. All the amazing stories people shared at the visitation. The message I received from a sweet woman who told me her husband was the one who's job it was to open Andy's grave...she said he takes his job seriously and he prayed for us as he prepared Andy's last place. All the little details that are not coincidence... God is sovereign and has this...has me, has my boys. God held us and carried us through each moment. And because I know my God... I know He will continue to do so.

He Has This.

Though you have not seen Him you love Him; and even though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
1 Peter 1:8-9


Thursday, January 1, 2015

New beginnings.

It's a brand new year full of brand new things and brand new beginnings.
 My new beginning will be learning to live in a world without the Captain.
Andy went to be with Jesus at 8 am on December 30th 2014.
I was with him, as were his parents and his sister Elizabeth... who summed it up nicely when she said, through tears, 5 minutes after he passed "I miss him already."
And I do. Miss him. With my whole heart I miss him.
Every time I think of him being gone... not being able to see him again here... my brain can't make sense of it.
But even through my heartache, I can tell you one thing I know to be undeniably true. At 8 am on December 30th 2014 my brave husband opened his eyes and beheld Jesus, our risen Lord and Savior. He walked that morning... he talked that morning... I'm sure he sang. And I'm even more certain that he beheld the Glory of God and is now perfect. Andy is whole and glorified and already spending eternity with Christ and my sweet Caden.
Kinda hard not to be a little jealous.
He is out of that dumb bed... he's not in pain...He is fully healed... he is in Glory with God.
And I love the Captain with everything I have... So I do not want him back. I want Him right where he is.
I'll go to meet him one day. He just beat me there... which is so Andy... He was so competitive.
I have much, much more to say... but because of time constraints this week (and exhaustion) I'll save all the other emotions and facts and details for future posts.. written by future Cari. She seems like the kinda gal that can handle all of that.
Service times:
Visitation: 4-8 pm Friday January 2nd at LifePoint Church
8540 Combs Road, Indianapolis, IN 46237
Funeral: 11 am January 3rd at LifePoint Church
8540 Combs Road, Indianapolis, IN 46237
In Lieu of flowers contributions may be made to the
Andrew D. Chastain Sole Benefit Trust
8063 Madison Ave. #352
Indianapolis, IN 46227
A few things if your new.
You can find our full story here.
If you would like to know more about the Captain, read this... and this.
A BIG, GINORMOUS thank you to every single person who has prayed for us, to everyone who has called, texted, emailed, commented, messaged, snail-mailed, brought by dinner, flown in, is flying in, has hugged us, cried with us and loved on us. I feel incredibly loved and cared for.
Thank you.